In memory of Ursula Baher, a beautiful soul and defender of humanity

Ursula Baher, who on Facebook went by the pseudonym “Manuela Hochsteadt“, passed away today, finally freed of the terminal cancer which she had valiantly defied, fighting to stay alive and realize her dream: to come to Syria.
This dream was realized recently–thanks to Syrian individuals and those in the Syrian government who facilitated her visit and arranged for her artwork to be shown in a gallery.
Ursula was a heroic and courageous woman, whose love for Syria and Syrians transferred to her amazing paintings, art which depicted the horrors of this horrific war on Syria and Syria’s people and its defenders. She painted the unbearable scenes, but also the beautiful, uplifting, and noble. She painted the hypocrisy that are international platforms, corrupted and contributing directly to the war on Syria, and Syria’s noble representatives rising above such loathsome hypocrisy.
She painted, too, the beauty of life.

Her work touched so many lives. Please read her blog, where her activism and love for Syria is well-documented.
I’m so grateful to have briefly met her, spending an hour with her and her husband, Marcel Berlina, in the old city of Damascus. Her courage and strength in the face of a terminal illness was humbling. Her spirit was inspiring. And she was simply a beautiful person.
Marcel told me of Ursula’s incredible bravery in the face of her terminal illness.
They had gone to the hospital in August, and the doctor told her that she had a week to live, her liver had stopped producing bile. He had told her her options limited to a surgery that wouldn’t work, or faith in God.
The same day she got news about her Syria visa and they began preparations to come to Syria. She outlived her doctor’s prognosis by over one month. “I chose to have faith in Syria,” she said.
Her suffering on earth is over, although she leaves behind many, many people around the world who are sad at the news of her passing.
Deepest condolences to Marcel and their children. Your Ursula is beloved.
She will be hugely missed. May her soul rest in peace.
Some of her incredible art work on Syria, its people and defenders–the Syrian Arab Army and Syrian political figures–can be seen on her Facebook page.
Syrian media, SANA, wrote of her exhibition:
“Yesterday, Baher opened her exhibition under the title “Rising from the Ashes” at Dar al-Assad for Culture and Arts, making her last wish to showcase her artworks in the heart of Damascus a dream come true.
In a press statement after opening her exhibition, Baher sent a message to the Syrian people in which she expressed her love to all Syrians and her confidence that they have achieved victory because they are right.
“My current health condition is critical, and if I die here, I want to be buried in Syria, the land of martyrs,” said Baher.”
Of her funeral, Ursula’s husband Marcel wrote:
“Time and location of Ursula’s funeral is given below. Instead of buying flowers to the funeral I want to ask you to make a donation of your choice for a good cause, eg a foundation to support the families of the martyrs of the Syrian Arab Army, the foundation to help people fight cancer run by Asma al-Assad or just any other effort to help the poor and needy.”
Her passing has been met with immense sorrow and love. Below are some relevant links.

Ursula, Manuela Hochsteadt, our honorable guest, the angel who shared us our sorrows, and brought love with her to Syria have passed away after her dreams to visit Syria came true, and after she gave us one of the most precious gifts, her colorful soul painted in her drawings ❤️

I am lost for words dear Ursula.
Your soul is now in our sky, we can smell the jasmine in the air, please tell our beloved martyrs we said Hi, we miss them, and we thank them, and we will always miss you, you are now one of them, you are one of our beloved martyrs.

Dear Ursula, please tell the real God up there everything, that people are killing and being in his name! Tell him about all the faces you painted, paint them for him again, you will be able to ask them for more details if you want!

May your soul rest in peace ❤️🙏😢🇸🇾

#Yesterday I attended the opinion of her exhibition and I wrote:

I was attending the opening of Exhibition for Peace in Syria by the German artist “#Ursula“, Manuela Hochsteadt, at the Opera House in Damascus.
I was their, actually I was waiting for it since the moment I heard she was coming to Syria…

Finding about someone far away from you but being with you in his soul and heart was beyond magical…

Ursula was with us for years before we even knew about her, and today, looking at the amount of love and beauty in her artwork was a blessing, I was able to identify many of the faces and the scenes Ursula beautifully recreated with her super amazing talent, tears filled my eyes and… no, I didn’t cry… almost…

I didn’t take any photos, just lived the moment, I will never forget this day.

But I found those photos on Facebook and found myself in one of them (the first one), it was taken from behind my back, but at that moment I wouldn’t have noticed anything.

Thank you very much Ursula for your passion and love,it means a lot to all of us, may the lord give you strength and magically cure you, you are an angel.”


  1. Thank you for sharing Eva. She is simply inspiring, as is her art, which is beautiful as well. Like the Syrian people, she is an example of an unconquered spirit and soul. Thanks again, and all the best to her family and to you.

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